Why are spears so limited compared to other weapons?

Folca

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My point was that spearmen can become melee infantry so the disctinction is meaningless for the most part.
Going by that logic spearmen can also become archers, knights or buddhist monks. Nitpicking semantics aside, I use the term ''spearman'' to denote the usage of their current weapon. For the purpose of this discussion, I'd say the distinction between spearmen and other melee infantry is pretty meaningful.

The phalanx was outmaneuvered and outflanked, shields only slowed the process of legions being poked to death.
To say that's all it was is a bit reductionist. Interlocked shields allowed them to get past the eighteen foot long spears, forcing the Macedonians to draw their shortswords and thereby into a disfavoured scenario. Roman swords were vastly superior to the Macedonian counterparts.

Meaning even some cavalry have longer polearms than "pikemen", not to mention their mobility and timing advantages.
I might be mistaken, but I don't believe (awl) pikes can be used on horseback. In any case cavalry classes do not have direct access to them. So, no, in Bannerlord cavalry does not outrange an actual pikeman.

So if a horse mindlessly chaarging into you maybe it is effective (not necessarily for the AI, AI has no clue how to use polearms), but if the horseman has brains he won't expose the horse's head and utilize his advantage in reach.
''If any player has brains he won't expose himself and use his advantages while completely avoiding unfavoured scenarios.'' That sounds great on paper, but that's not the way it works in-game. Unless you've ascended to Bannerlord-Godhood, you'll always end up exposing yourself eventually, whether it be by greed, arrogance or simple distraction and miscalculation. That doesn't take away from your skill let alone render you brainless. Pikes are an excellent means to exploit cavalry's exposure. You are correct in the sense that pikes are a reactionary weapon in Bannerlord and you can't force cavalry engagements with it. On this point, I'd also like to quote myself here from yesterday:

Well a lot of players must be idiots then. Sometimes you get caught by surprise and sometimes you have no way to go. Getting reared happens to good players too. Lying in wait at chokepoints is an excellent way to make that happen.
My point is you can't sidestep in Bannerlord.
If that's your point then I'm failing to see how it's pertinent in the current discussion. Sidestepping affects most, if not all, weapons in equal measure.